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The Innovation Process
Activity 2.2 A

Crowd-source individual ideas

This activity will guide you in the use of problem-solving platforms to crowd-source single-provider solutions that may have already been developed and tested.

There are a number of online problem-solving platforms where challenges are posted and ‘the crowd’ provides solutions. These platforms are best for identifying well thought through ideas that may have already been developed and tested.

As Alph Bingham, co-founder of problem-solving platform Innocentive, says “there will always be someone smarter outside of your team or organization; getting a diverse range of fresh perspectives is key to effective problem solving; and asking the right question in the right way is critical to eliciting the answers you need.”

First you will need to set the problem and design criteria. You can commission or work with problem-solving platforms to refine your Challenge Brief so that it is suitable for the type of challenge you are creating. The more specific your design criteria, the more likely that this approach will be useful in finding a solution. This will then be posted online to a crowd of problem solvers who can submit proposed solutions. The solutions are each provided by a single supplier.

You are then able to assess these solutions and decide which, if any, is the best solution for your problem with no input from the wider crowd. A fee or some form of prize is generally awarded to a single provider whose solution best meets the criteria. They are competitive because all of the solution providers are vying to offer the best solution.

Innocentive and 100%Open are two prominent open-innovation platforms that help to connect people, ideas and organisations to develop new solutions in a cost-effective way. Watch Innocentive’s introduction to crowd-sourcing ideas: